“Too Good” Bread

School kids have been complaining about the tasteless lunches mandated by the USDA. Meanwhile, at least one school in Sweden had the opposite problem:

A talented head cook at a school in central Sweden has been told to stop baking fresh bread and to cut back on her wide-ranging veggie buffets because it was unfair that students at other schools didn’t have access to the unusually tasty offerings.

Annica Eriksson, a lunch lady at school in Falun, was told that her cooking is just too good. Pupils at the school have become accustomed to feasting on newly baked bread and an assortment of 15 vegetables at lunchtime, but now the good times are over.

The municipality has ordered Eriksson to bring it down a notch since other schools do not receive the same calibre of food – and that is “unfair”.

From now on, the school’s vegetable buffet will be halved in size and Eriksson’s handmade loafs will be replaced with store-bought bread.

Setting aside the health ramifications of serving “too good” bread to students, this incident underscores an attitude among some people (including many voters in the U.S., unfortunately) that drives me nuts: If some people are better off than I am, that somehow makes my situation worse, so I don’t want them to be better off. The kids in other schools who don’t have access to Ms. Eriksson’s good cooking aren’t being harmed, but somehow it’s more “fair” to them if the kids in her school don’t get to enjoy her meals anymore.

I don’t know anything about Swedish politics, but it would be interesting if food fairness became a campaign issue. I can picture some burly Swede named Joe the Baker confronting a Swedish candidate (one who has never baked anything and has no idea where bread comes from or how the baking business works) and demanding an explanation.

“Look, I don’t have anything against you,” the candidate will answer. “I just think we need to, you know, spread the bread around.”

“But it’s my bakery. I saved for years and worked 80-hour weeks to get this going.”

“You didn’t build that. Somewhere along the way you had some help.”

Almost-Paleo Bread

I didn’t mind giving up bread when I went low-carb, but I do occasionally miss tuna melts, patty melts, BLTs and other sandwiches, so I’ve kept an eye out for grain-free bread recipes.

We tried this one last week and thought it was pretty good, although the loaf only rose to about half the height of sandwich bread. So we tweaked it and tried again. This time the load produced sandwich-worthy slices. Here’s the tweaked recipe:

  • 16-oz. jar creamy almond butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking power
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup warm water

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3. Pour the batter into a 9 x 5 greased bread pan.
4. Bake until firm. (In our oven, it took one hour.)

While watching Sunday Night Football, I decided to taste-test the bread by making one of my long-ago favorite sandwiches, a grilled cheese with ham and a fried egg. (Yes, I know cheese isn’t paleo.) I’m pleased to report that the almond-butter bread held up well. Chareva also informed me the bread holds up to being toasted in a toaster.

I took a ham and salami sandwich to work today and it was quite filling, no doubt because the almond-butter bread has a very high fat content. Since Chareva’s parents are visiting later this week in honor of her 40th birthday and her dad loves bagels, we ordered some bagel pans. With any luck, the recipe will work for onion bagels.

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87 Responses to ““Too Good” Bread and Almost-Paleo Bread”
  1. Pamela Martyn says:

    As I’m not paleo, the bread recipe I posted works great for me. But an equally lovely loaf is from Elana’s Pantry, and it is paleo, and best yet, flexible. I used an herbed coconut oil the first time I made it, and it turned out a savory loaf that’s good as a side for all sorts of dishes.
    http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-bread/

  2. Andy says:

    Tom, have you tried any of the low carb breads from Julian Bakery? I heard there was some skepticism in regards to their label claims. I purchased their “one carb” bread a couple months ago and it seemed far to good to be true. They recently started offering almond flour and coconut flour breads as well.

    I believe Dr. Eenfeldt tested his glucose reaction with that bread and found it to be same as with any other bread.

  3. J says:

    “You didn’t build that. Somewhere along the way you had some help.”

    You know what else that baker didn’t build? The roads and bridges that lead to their bakery. The inspectors that make sure the baker is actually getting flour, not flour + melamine. The baker also didn’t build the police station that protects the bakery from crime or the FTC that keeps some large mega company from unfairly competing against the bakery.

    You quoting that out of context “You built it” stuff really surprised me.

    I’ve seen the entire Obama remark in context, which only made it worse. His obvious point was that people who build businesses aren’t really responsible for their own success and therefore it’s okay for the rest of us to expect them to pay for all of our government goodies.

    If government is ever reduced to the basic functions you described, I’ll be delighted and happily pay the taxes to support those functions.

    • Wenchypoo says:

      Politics and bread….oh yeah! As far as basic functions go, I think we’re slowly getting there–our current Congress is functioning very basically right this minute! They’re being really careful to complete the work that their donors ask of them, but not much more.

      Perhaps if they had a more filling bread in their lives…just sayin’.

      Lots of people get upset if Congress does nothing. I think that’s when they’re doing the least harm.

  4. Lobstah says:

    So here’s a question that’s a bit off topic, so if this is the wrong spot to post it, please move it :)
    My wife and I recently changed our diet, as I’ve mentioned here before. I started about 4mos ago, my wife about 2mos. We’ve eliminated pretty much all flour and all sugar from our diets. Yes, we have the occasional “slip”, like last night we went out for dinner and had a pot of portugese stew, which yes, we dunked a piece of bread in it, but those are very rare these days, maybe once every two weeks. So we’ve made really good progress.
    My wife recently had bloodwork done. Last time was 9mos ago. Her cholesterol level is up by about 10%. I’ve done a lot of reading here, and on other sites, and she’s done a bit as well. Her doctor told her that this was something to “Keep an eye on…don’t need medication YET, BUT…”
    We both know enough that neither of us would ever go on statins, and frankly, I could care less what my chol levels are, as long as they’re not zero. But I was a bit surprised that hers went up, and just trying to figure out what caused that. I’ve read everything that says cholesterol intake has really no effect on blood levels, so I’m wondering what may have caused this.
    Admittedly, it’s very unscientific, as we have no idea what her levels were before the diet change, meaning they could have been much higher, and what the doctor saw as an increase, could actually be a decrease. So just wondering what other’s think about this? We’re not changing anything based on it, but sooner or later we’ll be having the conversation with the doctor, and would like to be well-armed, so to speak :)

    Lob

    Some people apparently experience a temporary rise in total cholesterol or LDL when they go low-carb. From what I’ve read, it has something to do with stored fats being released from the liver.

  5. Walter B says:

    But Tom’s recipe is not wheat bread. It’s almonds and eggs basically both of which are food with those nutritional properties, vice bread made from ninja mutant wheat.

  6. Jesrad says:

    “The municipality has ordered Eriksson to bring it down a notch since other schools do not receive the same calibre of food – and that is “unfair”.”

    I can only think of one proper answer to this: “nuts!”.

    Ok, two answers: “Sir you are speaking complete nonsense and are acting irrationnally. Do not resist while we take you to an hospital for a neurologic exam. Everyone please consider this man on sick leave and disregard all his recent instructions.”

    As for the “You didn’t build that”, you know your country is doomed when its president speaks lines directly lifted from the villains from Ayn Rand’s novels ( http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/2554 ).

    If some of us suddenly disappear after renting small planes, you’ll know what happened.

  7. Lobstah says:

    Ok…this is just good. Make it.
    I’m now searching for a cheaper source of almond butter…just because of this recipe. I put a scant teaspoon of sugar-free jam on it, (about 2g carbs) and it’s pretty much like eating a toasted PBJ sammich.

  8. Marg says:

    I’ve made this a couple of times. You have to eat it quickly, though. It gets stale fast, like in two days.

    We kept our bread wrapped in foil in the fridge. I toasted some four days later and it was fine. Toasting it may have hidden any staleness.

  9. Lobstah says:

    Also discovered that the Cuisinart is an excellent tool for changing raw almonds ($6/3lbs at Sam’s) into almond butter. Pinch of salt and let it rip for 12-15minutes, after pulsing 15-20 times.

  10. Kathy says:

    I have made a couple of grain-free breads and found that I could get around the problem of not rising by separating the eggs. I mix all the other ingredients (almond meal, coconut flour, whatever) together with the egg yolks then whip the egg whites to a fairly stiff consistency. I then gently fold the egg whites into the batter of choice. The incorporated air greatly improves the texture of the “bread” without changing carbs, calories, or anything else about the bread.
    As for staleness, have you tried slicing and freezing the entire loaf after it is completely cooled and then thawing slices as needed?

    We haven’t had a loaf last long enough to worry about one going stale.

  11. Sam Sinderson says:

    Lobstah: Your wife’s increase in cholesterol could be because she is ApoE4. This is a genetic trait that if you inherit it makes one process cholestrol and saturated fat in a detremental way. Quest now offers this the test for this. Note that most doctors won’t know what to do with the result except to say that if you are E4 you may have a greater chance of alzheimers disease. Dr. DAvis on the TYP website (must be a member) has a nice primer on ApoE type and what it means relative to diet.

  12. Kim says:

    Tom, how do you store this bread? I’ve got mine in a gallon ziplock bag in my breadbox. But I think I should have left the loaf out to dry a little while, because it’s awfully *moist*. What is your process for this?

    If it’s too moist, perhaps it needed a bit more baking. We wrapped ours in aluminum foil to store it in the fridge.

  13. Kathryn says:

    This looks great! I can’t wait to try it! Any thoughts on how this would work with sesame seed butter or tahini? There are severe nut allergies at my daughter’s school, and I would love to send this.

    All you can do is give it a shot and see what happens.

  14. LeeAnn says:

    Tom, Thank you so much for posting this!!! I’m not diabetic, but I test and track my blood sugar. I made my own almond butter with the food processor and used your recipe for the bread. I made a cheese and egg sandwhich like you, and I have to say, I ate half, was completely satisfied, and there was NO RAISE in my blood sugar! None! It’s reassuring that I can have ‘bread’, that I KNOW what it’s made of. Can’t get better than that…..

    I was fine living without sandwiches, but I must say, it’s nice to have a ham and egg sandwich again.

  15. mrs storm says:

    This bread recipe was great! I’ve had trouble making sandwich bread for my husband and this did the trick- and so easy! Thanks, Tom! (And my friend Adam said “It’s tasty- I can’t believe there’s no bread in this bread!”)

  16. andrew says:

    about sweden – jante’s law.

  17. Kate says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! This may or may not be related to an upcoming shortage of butter in my local area. I have missed buttered bread, and this does the trick nicely!

  18. Sally says:

    I made this with 16 oz almond butter and 6 eggs, baking powder,salt and water. It came out great and toasted perfect. I am trying to get a nutritional breakdown. I am coming up with a total loaf of around 3410 calories from the fat grams and about 150 carbs, even divided by 16 slices I am coming up with a lot of calories and carbs…which would be reduced by fiber but still around 14 carbs per slice. How are you doing the math? What is your breakdown per slice? How many slicesnper loaf?

    Our almond butter shows 2 net carbs (6 carbs – 4 fiber) * 23 servings in the jar. So that’s 46 net carbs in the entire loaf.

  19. Annette Slatton says:

    What would happen if you used almond flour/meal instead of the almond butter?

    You’d need to add more fat. Chareva has been experimenting, so I’ll post another recipe when she’s happy with the results.

  20. carlos says:

    good recipe and just a comment on the almond butter. the almond butter should not be high in fat as it is just almonds that have been processed into a very fine paste. almond meal would work too but you might have to add some water and maybe some oil to the mix to get the same consistency. that would be cheaper too.

  21. Daghain says:

    This is the first nut bread I’ve come across that’s not “brick-like”. I love this stuff. I just made a loaf today and I’m pretty sure it won’t last too long.

    The texture is pretty good and it toasts well. Not a cheap loaf, but worth it.

  22. steph says:

    I didn’t have any almond butter on hand, and really wanted to make this, so I made a few modifications. I used half butter and half peanut butter, added in a banana and a few chocolate chips. It turned out great!!! :) thanks!

  23. James says:

    I just made a loaf and my verdict….not bad!….a lot better than other almond recipes I’ve tried. I made the mistake of forgetting to add the 3/4 cup of warm water and I think that was a blessing as its near perfect and not wet as someone else had happen. I would reduce any water to 1/4 cup tops and it should be perfect.

    I used 5 eggs and had to make almond butter up from almond flour I had mixed with a coconut oil-butter mix to get a good smooth 16 oz’s. I beat the eggs whole with the salt and BP first and it foamed them up well…then I added the Almond butter and poured it into a silicone bread pan. 1 hour at 325F in a fan forced oven and it was firm…near perfect moisture content (dry side slightly) and tasty with butter. ;-) I might add cheese next time …mmm!

  24. GiGi says:

    Hey Presto! Paddington Bear will be happy to know his bacon sarnies can be once again kept under his hat in case of emergencies as this bread recipe worked for me. That’s a big statement as I am among the world’s worst Bakers – ever.

    I even went rogue and used pecan meal that we had picked up in GA and had been kept in the freezer for an age. Still fresh and a quick trip through the Cuisinart with four TBLSP of expeller coconut oil turned it into the equivalent of the almond butter.

    Now to try it with the coconut flour, almond meal and maybe even peanut flour that are lounging in the pantry. So, that’s three more to try… will report back.

  25. cavenewt says:

    Re sweden: there’s a classical old science fiction story where the government tries to even everything out. Ballerinas have to dance with heavy weights on their legs, attractive news anchorwomen have to wear masks, etc. This reminded me a lot of that story.

    As for the political angle, I believe Obama was pointing out that none of us exists in a vacuum, and it is the responsibility of all of us to contribute to the society that makes success possible. He certainly was not taking anything away from those who have managed to be successful.

    Let me quote Obama directly — the “context” his defenders said was missing:

    “I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

    If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

    Okay, so it wasn’t because you were smart — there are lots of smart people. It wasn’t because you worked hard — there are lots of hard-working people. It was that great teacher you had (never mind that every other kid in your class had the same teacher).

    The only reasonable interpretation of his speech is that successful people are the beneficiaries of luck and government. That’s why members of his party call rich people “the winners of life’s lottery.” Lottery, you see? Just luck. Since it’s just luck, it’s okay if we confiscate half your earnings.

    Obama of course would never mention the behavior that most separates business owners from employees (who may be smart and work hard): the willingness to risk everything you own to start a business and then shoulder the responsibility of keeping it going, find markets for your product or service, paying your employees, paying your employer taxes, navigating regulations, etc.

    • john says:

      I think it’s very reasonable to say that successful people are the beneficiaries of luck and government – as well as their own hard work. I know of businesses that have gone bankrupt through no fault of their own – bad debtors, for instance. That’s bad luck. You admit yourself that entrepreneurs ‘risk everything’ so clearly luck plays a part and some people lose their gamble. Isn’t it nice how government doesn’t let you starve when that happens?

      (We shall ignore those successful people whose hard work was getting born to the approriate parents, I presume, as an inconvenient distraction.)

      And that’s waaaay away from the original article, in any case. Reducing everything to the lowest common deminator is absolutely wrong, and in that assessment of the article you’re totally correct. Turning that specific error into an argument for minimalist government is more than stretching a point. (Although presumably the government should not pay for education, and then this whole point would be moot.)

      I’m not turning that specific error into an argument for minimalist government. I’m pointing out that Obama’s intended message, by any reasonable and logical interpretation of his words, is that rich people aren’t rich because they’re smarter or work harder (I mean, gee whiz, look at all the smart people who work hard and aren’t rich!); they’re rich because of government and luck. Therefore it’s okay for government to take half of their earnings and “spread the wealth around.”

      There’s a reason people in his party like to call rich people “the winners of life’s lottery.” Portraying successful people as merely lucky is their way of rationalizing the organized theft that underlies their primary pitch to the electorate: “Vote for us! We’ll give you stuff and make other people pay for it!” Obama was pandering to the “give me free stuff!” crowd (apparently a majority of the voters these days), explaining why it’s okay for them to demand that rich people pay more taxes to buy them more of the free stuff they want.

      As for those born rich (a small minority of the rich people in the country), I don’t have a problem with rich parents passing their wealth onto their children. Family owned businesses are good for the country and the economy.

  26. Seriously says:

    trying to figure this out. Is this bread sweet?

    No, not really.

  27. Seriously says:

    also, just for the record. The people who complain about people who are unhappy with a President who claims that your success is not your success, should remember that all that “other stuff”…. roads, utilities, police, etc. are ALSO paid for by businesses. The government confiscates a certain percentage of our money and distributes it to other entities in the form of taxation. Without businesses, there would be no tax base; ergo no roads, power lines, schools or police. See how that works? It’s really pretty simple.

    Amen.

  28. Evolver says:

    I finally got around to going this and LOVED THIS BREAD! So yummy! Thank you very much for posting this recipe. I got 20 good slices from it.. And ate them all to myself :)

    Nothing wrong with sharing, you know.

  29. Heather says:

    This recipe also makes a fantastic “sweet bread”! And I have tried this recipe using peanut butter as well as the almond butter, and both were great! The peanut butter was gentler on the bank account, though. :) I want to try using cashew butter too, but that butter loves the money even more, lol. Still, I will try it sometime!

    For the “sweet bread”, do not add any salt. Try mixing in 1 (or 2) tbsp dark chocolate powder AND 1 (or 2) tbsp cinnamon into your mixture and for the hot water, use tea or coffee with splenda (or “sweetener” of choice) stirred in. If you enjoy it and can handle it, toss in a small amount of dark chocolate chips as well. Yum!!

  30. Shannon says:

    Love this! Even though I can go without sammies & bread, when you have a middle schooler & a toddler there needs to be a paleo source for the beloved PBJ. I make a loaf a week now for my kiddos & they love it. Full disclosure: this mama even enjoyed a BLT on it.

    Thanks a bunch because GF store bought bread really sucks. Would love to hear how the bagels fared. I miss bagels.

  31. Shannon says:

    This article reminded me of a favorite line from Jack Nicolson in “As Good As It Gets”-
    “Its not that you had it so bad, its that everyone else had it so damn good.”

  32. Thank you!!! An excellent recipe!

  33. Stacy says:

    Hi! Can you tell me the net carb content for this bread? THANKS!!!

    Not sure on that one. You’d have to add it up from the ingredient labels.

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